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In my travels through the country in discharge of duties enjoined: by the ministry of the Saviour of sinners, I have met with more opposition to the gospel preached to Abraham, from false notions of the Parables of the New Testament, than from any other quarter, Often, after travelling many miles and preaching several sermons in a day, I have found it necessary to explain several Parables to some in. quiring hearer, when my strength seemed almost exhausted. At such times, I have thought a volume, such as the reader has in his hand, might save me much labor. And I have often said to myself, if God will give me a few weeks leisure, I will (with his assistance) employ them is writing Notes on the Parables. This favor has at last been granted, though it was by depriving me of that degree of health which was necessary to the performance of those journics which I had already appointed ; yet, preserving so much as to render me compose ed in my study.

I am pursuaded that a just knowledge of the Parables is almost indis. pensably necessary to a knowledge of the doctrine preached by Christ, as much of his public communication was in this way. It is in the Parables of Christ that we learn the aature of the two dispensations, or covenants; the situation of man hy reason of sin; the character of the Saviour, as the seeker and Saviour of that which was lost; the power of the gospel, as a sovereign remedy for the moral maladies of man, and its divine efficacy in reconciling and assimilating the sinner with God. It is by the Parables that we learn the unprofitablcacss of tegal righteousness in point of justification to eternal life; the absolute necessity of becoming new creatures, in order to enter the kingdom of God; the true character of the Saviour, as the Lord our Righteousness, and his divine power to make all things new.

And I may add to the above considerations many friendly requests from respectable brethren in the ministry, and many of my hearers who have made themselves partially acquainted with my mapner of explaining the Parables.

Some will undoubtedly ask why the author was not more particular in quoting scripture evidence for the assistance of the reader, To which I answer; my main design was to have my explanations or

Notes derive evidence from the subject of discourse, or particular cir. cumstance which seemed to introduce or occasion the Parable. I will instance two particulars for examples. The three Parables in the 15th of St, Luke were evidently introduced as an answer to the Pharisces and Scribes who objected to Christ for receiving sinners, which objection was the evident nocasion of the three Parables ; and according to that circumstance, the reader will discover thc propriety of my Notes.

Again, the Parable of the Tares, in the 13th of St. Matthew, con. tinues the thread of discourse from the cxplanation of the Parable of the Sower; and by connecting these Parables as they ought to be, the reader will fiod the evidence for the propriety of what I have written on that Parable. Again, many quotations would of necessity have enlarged the work, which would have occasioned an additional cx pense to the reader.

Again, I do by no means wish to have the Bible read the less, but the more, in consequence of my Notes : I wish for the reader to search the scriptures, to see if these things are so; anu satisfy himself, by becoming acquainted with the most valuable of all-books. I have, however, on those particular Parables where I saw the greatest danger of error, introduced (as I think) suficient evidence by quotations The method which I have pursued in most of the Parables would, I acknowledge, be a very bad method in sermonizing, as the hearers in That case would be lost in the multitude of particulars : yet, in read ing, I supposed it an advantage to have the subjects particularly divi. ded. The reason why I have omitted all the Parables in St. Mark and St. John, is because of their similarity with those on which I have written, or because I saw no probability of their being misunderstood; and the same reason I would give for omitting some in St. Matthew and in St. Luke.

I must tell you further, christian reader, that I am not without some fears respecting your getting a just understanding of the subject beforeyou. Should

you,
when

you have read it through, say it is not alto. gether.according to the ideas which I have heretofore entertained, ansk dismiss the work without further notice, I am sure you are likely to understand but little of the matter. It will be necessary to read it a number of times with attention, to search the scriptures in connexionwith the Parables, and to take great care that you do not admit prepossessed ideas as evidence against what you read.

Again, should you hurry through the work, and say it is a good thing, and acknowledge the ideas to be just, without an exception, and pay no more study to the work, you are equally, as in the other cases liable to know but little of what you read. Suffer me, therefore, carnestly to intreat, that you neither justify or condemn these Notes, until you can do it with a good understanding, and from the authority of the scriptures.

And may the spirit of Him, in whom dwells the fulness of wisdom and knowledge, direct you in these serious' and solemn inquiries; make you all wise in his wisdom, holy in his holiness, righteous in his right cousness, and perfect in his perfection, is the fervent desire and joyful hope of a scrvant of all mea.

THE AUTHOR

NOTES

ON THE

PARABLES.

PARABLE I. 6. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees : there,

fore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire."

Mat, iii. 10. The forerunner of Jesus was here giving that instruction to the people which was necessary for them to receive, in order that they might be prepared to receive the more mighty than himself. He shewed them the futility of depending on their being descendants from Abraham as to their being accepted in that dispensation which was imniedi, ately to be introduced.

Although that circumstance was of consequence to them in respect to that shadowy dispensation. which was waxing old and ready to vanish away, it could not serve them as an induction into that by which all things were to be made new; by which the shadows of the law were to flee away, and Jew and Gentile, as of twain, made one new

man.

Fruits meet for repentance are, therefore, required; for as they stood in their law character, they were a generation of vipers, as is every child of Adam in the earthly character. And as those Pharisees were ever desirous of performing something whereby God might accept then and delight in them, it was proper for them to be informed, that good works or fruits alone would receive approbation, of which they, in the character of vipers, were destitute.

“And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees.” Note the axe is an instrument by which the tree is severed from its roots, which, in the Parable, signifies the executive power of the law; the trees every individual of mankind; the root, (not roots) that one Adamic nature from which we all sprang.

“ Therefore every tree. which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” Has any one, in or by the carnal mind, brought forth good fruit? Is there any spiritual life in Adam the first nature? It was said to him, “ In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” If we sprang

If we sprang from a spiritually dead root, can we possess any spiritual life derived from that root? If we have no spiritual life, can we bring forth the fruits of righteousness? If not, the axe must do its office; the trees must be hewn down, that is, severed from the old root, cut off from the Adamic nature; for in that nature we can never partake of the tree of life, for behold God placed cherubims and a flaming sword in the east, the place of light, that we, in that nature, cannot approach the tree of life. It is, therefore, shewed unto us, in the priesthood of the law, that neither the High Priesis themselves, tfor the people in their representatives, could enter the holy place until they were slain in the outer court, which was done by proxy, in those sacrifices which

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